A series of astronomical phenomena will occur this month, including close approaches of Venus and Saturn, the Moon and Mars, a planetary trio of Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn, as well as the zenith passage of the Sun, which will be witnessed in various parts of the country.
According to the astronomical calendar of the Geophysical Institute of Peru (IGP)
, the zenith passage of the Sun will continue across the Peruvian territory this month. It is expected to be witnessed in Arequipa (February 3) and Lima (February 15, 16, and 17) at about 12:20 p.m.
The zenith passage of the Sun occurs when the shadows of objects —such as light posts and buildings— or people disappear for about two minutes, being the moment when the Sun passes through the top point of the sky (the zenith) at around noon.
This phenomenon will continue in northern, central, and eastern Peru until March 20. It should be noted that the zenith passage occurs twice a year in countries located in the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, such as Peru.
Approach of heavenly bodies
The IGP —a body attached to the Ministry of the Environment
— expects other impressive astronomical phenomena, such as the approach of Venus and Saturn, scheduled for February 6.
Additionally, there will be an approach of the Moon and Mars on February 18, and a planetary trio consisting of Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn on February 24.
These events shall be seen mainly in areas with clear skies, especially in the highlands of the country.
The IGP Planetarium team is responsible for reporting these events so that all Peruvians are able to learn more about astronomy, to bring science closer to the population, and — at the same time— dispel certain myths and superstitions that are not related to astronomical events.